BFAR eyes discounted fuel for fishermen
MANILA, Philippines — To help alleviate the burden of soaring domestic fuel prices on fishermen, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) is looking at connecting them to oil companies so they can buy petroleum products at discounted prices.
“We are exploring the possibility of coming up with a direct sale of diesel for our fisherfolk,” BFAR officer in charge Demosthenes Escoto said.
Escoto told reporters that the Department of Energy (DOE) was asking for additional details including the list of potential beneficiaries and their respective fuel requirements.
The BFAR is proposing an industry-to-industry arrangement wherein fishers will be linked to oil companies to enable them to purchase fuel products at lower prices and in bulk. The DOE’s Oil Industry Management Bureau Director Rino Abad confirmed the recent meeting between the two agencies.
Abad said the DOE is supportive and willing to help the fishermen at any time but said the BFAR has to provide the necessary details and set the parameters for the planned intervention.
“If bulk purchase, there must be a point person and someone will sign a contract. There must be a guarantor. What we’re after is for oil companies to provide them discounts,” Abad told the Inquirer in a phone interview.
“We will give them all the data and hopefully they can arrange some sort of an arrangement wherein our fisherfolk can buy fuel at a discounted price. We are trying to pursue it,” Escoto said.
The Department of Agriculture is implementing a fuel discount program for farmers and fishers. It was expanded in August this year to include all agricultural commodities.
For this year, the agency earmarked P500 billion for this initiative and was later raised to P1.1 billion to provide relief to more agricultural producers.
30% fuel discount
Eligible beneficiaries under the program are entitled to a 30-percent fuel discount, or up to P3,000 per farmer or fisher, upon the purchase of gasoline or diesel from designated or contracted gas stations.
With the unabated increase in the prices of petroleum products, many fishers were forced to either abandon their livelihood and find alternative jobs or scale down their fishing activities.
About 80 percent of fishers’ earnings go to fuel alone.
Because of these, the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas said fish prices might go up in the last three months of 2022 due to a projected decline in local fish supply.
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